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Sunday, February 12, 2017
Amid Mideast Turmoil, Look to Iran's Mullahs as the Root of the Problem
On Sunday Jan. 29, only ten days after Trump's inauguration, Iran once again shocked the world by conducting its first ballistic missile test. Three days later, Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn condemned the missile launch, declaring it "just the latest in a series of incidents" in which Iran has threatened the U.S. and its regional allies over the past six months.
It points to the leading problem in the entire Middle Eastern morass: Iran's mullahs.
Flynn said leaders in Tehran were emboldened to take such action now, because the nuclear agreement is "weak and ineffective," and because the other nations involved in the agreement failed to take action to rein in Iran's military ambitions.
During a briefing at the White House, Flynn accused former President Barack Obama and other members of his administration of not being tough enough on Tehran. "The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran's malign actions - including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms," Flynn said.
The latest rocket lunch by Iran was the fourth of its kind, in defiance of the United Nations resolution, since the nuclear agreement was adopted last year. Iran is using the cash it has received from the Obama administration's ransom payment for just such military expansion, as well as its terrorist activities. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has provided enormous resources available to the IRGC, which plays an outsized role in Iran's internal power structure and which definitely exploits economic dividends generated by the JCPOA.
On Jan. 9, 2017, five Iranian vessels under the command of IRGC approached the USS Mahan and two other U.S. ships as they were entering the Strait of Hormuz, south of Iran.
During 2015 and 2016 U.S. Navy ships had a total of 54 "unsafe interactions" with the speedboats of IRGC in the Persian Gulf. They tried to agitate U.S. Navy ships sailing in international waters near the Strait. Some of these happened at the same time the commander of IRGC's Quds force, accompanied by Iraqi Shiite militias, was involved in the siege Syria's second largest city, Aleppo, to help the Syrian dictator remain in power.
Indeed one major problem on the table for Trump administration will be the unremitting troublesome approaches of Iran's ayatollahs. The defeat of Obama's doctrine, which was most obvious in its policy of appeasement toward the fundamentalist regime of Iran, will definitely have great consequences given the frequent violations of UN resolutions by Iran. It will, hopefully, create a setback for the mullahs' expansion of state terrorism outside the country, and its flagrant abuses of human rights inside Iran. The fingerprints of Revolutionary Guards, IRGC,'s proxy militias, are visible in almost all violations of the rights of Iranian people, in perpetuating ransom, terror, massacres, and plunder. The IRGC remains the primary armed entity entrusted to guard the theocratic regime that Khamenei oversees.
It, today, enjoys the power of a government agency. The IRGC uses secret police methods against its opponents within Iran, and terrorist tactics against its enemies abroad. Iranian law defines the IRGC as "an institution commanded by the Supreme Leader whose purpose is to protect the Islamic Revolution of Iran and its accomplishments. Iran's supreme Leader Ali Khameini has said "if one day this corps (IRGC) ceases to exist in our society, the authority of our revolution shall collapse.
The world that has been harmed by terrorists and extremists is now longing for peace. Peoples of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, as well as Europeans and Americans are suffering from state terrorism whose point of origin resides in Tehran. IRGC as one of the main instruments of employing terrorism should be listed among terrorist organizations. Maryam Rajavi whose National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI , has been engaged in a long battle against the mullahs, said in a recent conference, "Solidarity with Middle East Nations" that the international community, and regional countries must adopt a firm policy to evict Iran from the Middle East. She called on these countries to ban all deals and trade with IRGC-affiliated companies and to ban all forms of cooperation and joint action with the IRGC and the militia under its command in Syria and Iraq.
Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and social media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.